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When the weather begins to cool, it’s tempting to fill our tummies with unhealthy processed snacks or fast foods. However with a little planning we can just as easily satisfy big cold-weather appetites with these healthy soups made at home.

Soups contain up to 90 percent water so they can fill us up while providing essential hydration. They also add variety to standard main dishes especially when served with toppings like sour cream, avocado, chives, or bacon pieces.

Rather than popping open a high-sodium can of soup or snacking on unhealthy choices, use these tempting recipes made from wholesome ingredients like potatoes, squash, bell pepper, and onion and protein-rich legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, and lentils. They’ll nourish the soul as well as the stomach.

Here are three recipes shared by Lauren Wacaser of Let’s Eat Well.

Spanish Potato Stew With Chickpeas

The Tex-Mex flavor and bright presentation of this stew make it a favorite in many kitchens in the cooler months. Potatoes, chickpeas, and a variety of spices add a rich, filling thickener to the soup’s tomato base.

Ingredients

4 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

Olive oil (or any neutral oil)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, diced

32 ounces of stock or broth

(chicken or veggie)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

Optional: 2 tablespoons Tahini spice

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are fork-tender. Drain and lightly oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put on a baking sheet and roast for fifteen to twenty minutes until golden brown.

Heat a large pot on medium high heat. Pour one to two tablespoons of oil and add chopped onions and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent and soft. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add all the spices and tomato ingredients. Sauté until most of the liquid has reduced and thickened.

Add stock or broth, chickpeas, and potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add lemon juice and Tahini. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with fresh parsley, sour cream, fresh sliced peppers, or fresh cilantro.

For an extra tomato punch, throw in a few chopped sun dried tomatoes. Or make it spicy by throwing in some chopped chilies.

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Black Bean Chili

This chili uses beans instead of red meat but still manages to satisfy big appetites. Legumes like black beans, kidney beans, and lentils are a great source of plant-based protein. They also contain vitamins and high amounts of fiber so they’re more filling and benefit gut health.

Don’t try this recipe for the health benefits alone, however. It does the job of satisfying cravings for hot food on cold weather days without demanding a lot of preparation time.

Ingredients

3 cans black or kidney beans,

rinsed and drained

1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cups vegetable, beef,

or chicken broth

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 can lentils

Directions

Combine ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for three to four hours on high.

Add salt or pepper as needed.

Top with jalapeño slices, sour cream, cheese, tortilla strips or Fritos, avocado, and/or cilantro.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty flavor that becomes richer with the addition of onion and chicken or veggie broth. In this recipe, maple syrup enhances the squash’s flavor while a wide range of toppings allows the cook to customize the soup to the occasion.

Ingredients

1 medium or large butternut squash

1/2 onion

32 ounces of broth or stock (veggie or chicken)

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili powder

Salt and pepper

Toppings: bacon, cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, beet chips, chili powder, black pepper, sour cream, or chives.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.

Split the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place squash and onion on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with oil and season with chili powder and salt. Bake squash side down for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. Scoop out the squash.

Place the squash, onion, broth, and maple syrup in a blender and puree (with towel on top blender) until very smooth. Be careful blending hot liquids.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Pour into a pot and bring soup to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer for ten minutes. Serve with crusty buttered bread.

Add toppings and enjoy.

Find more recipes by Lauren Wacaser and her videos on her Let's Eat Well Facebook page.

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